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NGC 6402 (14,579 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 14

NGC 6402, C 1735-032, GCl 72, Bennett 97, Messier 14, h 1983, h 3698, GC 4315

RA: 17h 37m 36.15s
Dec: −03° 14′ 45.3″

Con: Ophiuchus
Ch: MSA:1322, U2:248, SA:15


(reference key)

Type: globular cluster

Mag: B=9.55, V=8.32

Size: 11′
PA: ?

Historical observations

William Herschel

In the Philosophical Transactions, 1814, William Herschel described it as "like an extremely bright, easily resolvable round nebula; but with a power of 300 I can see the stars of it. It resembles the 10th of the Connoissance des Temps, which probably would put on the same appearance as this, were it removed half its distance farther from us. The stars are much condensed in the middle." In the Philosophical Transactions, 1818, William Herschel wrote: "1783, 7 feet telescope. with 227 power, therte is a strong suspicion of its consisting of stars. 1783, 1784, 1791, 1799, 20 feet telescope. Extremely bright, round, easily resolvable; with 300 power I can see the stars. The heavens are pretty rich in stars of a certain size, but they are larger than those in the cluster, and easily to be distinguished from them. The cluster is considerably behind the scattered stars, as some of them are projected upon it."

John Herschel (1847) Cape Observations

Observed by Sir John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope with an 18-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He recorded it as "a most beautiful and delicate globular cluster, not vB, but of the finest star-dust; all well resolved, especially with the left eye; vgmbM, diam in RA = 15 seconds; excessively rich. All the stars = and 15 or 16m."

Published comments

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

A catalogue of star clusters shown on Franklin-Adams chart plates. Mem.R.A.S., 60(5), 175-186.

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part II. M.N.R.A.S., 35(8), 280.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 9.5 mag globular cluster.

Vorontsov-Velyaminov, B. (1925/1926)

Vorontsov-Velyaminov, B. "Integral magnitudes of south star clusters", Astron. Nach. 228, 325. Comparing the brightness of the cluster with the extrafocal images of stars, he estimates the magnitudes as 7.69.

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"! globular cluster, fairly condensed."

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Harris, W.E. (1997)

RA 17 37 36.1 (2000) Dec -03 14 45 Integrated V magnitude 7.59 Central surface brightness, V magnitudes per square arcsecond 18.41 Integrated spectral type F4 Central concentration, c = log(r_total/r_core); a 'c' denotes a core-collapsed cluster 1.60 Core radius in arcmin .83. ["Catalog Of Parameters For Milky Way Globular Clusters", compiled by William E. Harris, McMaster University. (Revised: May 15, 1997; from http://www.physics.mcmaster.ca/Globular.html; Harris, W.E. 1996, AJ, 112, 1487) ]

Modern observations


This globular cluster lies 11 degrees east of the globular pair Messier 10 & 12. At magnitude 7.6, it appears 3' in diameter, although on photographic plates it can be traced out to 12'. It is one of the few conspicuously oval globulars, although the official NGC description calls it large and round, with stars of 17th magnitude and fainter. Indeed, Sir John Herschel described it as "the finest star dust." You will need a 10-inch to resolve the cluster into stars.

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "9M; 6' diameter; largely unresolved; 13.5M thru 14M stars resolved on good night; not very condensed in center; use high-x."

Walter Scott Houston

Walter Scott Houston comments that his low-power 5" refractor shows it as "little more than a soft patchy glow." He notes that this globular lies amid a sparkling foreground of Milky Way stars.

Johnson, Bill

Bill Johnson of Rialto, California, used an 8-inch Newtonian to observe the cluster, and described it as "somewhat bright but seems to have a low surface brightness. I noticed some resolution around the edges." He used high to medium powers to observe it.

Bortle, John (1976)

John Bortle (Webb Society Quarterly Journal, January 1976) using 10x50 binoculars, estimates the visual magnitude as 7.9.

Ware, Donald J

Donald J. Ware:"This object yielded the least amount of detail in my telescope. It is about 8' in diameter, with resolution hinted at the edges at 179X. Little detail other than a granular core was noted."

Steve Coe

Coe, using a 13" f/5.6, notes: "Very bright, very large, round, extremely rich, extremely compressed at 165X. I estimated 200 stars by counting 50 in one quadrant. This beautiful globular shows off an explosion of faint stars when I use averted vision."

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf

1995 June 01

1995-06-01: 11x80. Kelsey Farm. 22:00 SAST. A neat globular in a field with quite a number of equally bright stars. A quite easy target.

1997 July 07

1997 July 7, Monday, 21:00 - 24:00 Jonkershoek. 11x80's tripod-mounted. In a reasonably sparse field lies M14, around 8th magnitude, with a broad centre.

Magda Streicher

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 32mm SW 95x 42' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov; 2-inch 8.8mm UW 346x 15' fov)

Very large, roundish and bright with a mass of faint stars visible. Slowly brightens to a rather brighter broad centre, with pinpoint star trails extending to fringy edges (218x). Beautiful visual double star positioned 8' arc minutes to the southwest. (Mag 7.6; size 11.7'; brightest stars 14 mag. )

Richard Ford

2016, June, 4th



Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.Haziness only visible on the horizon.Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian.

To say it likely in this globular cluster the stars are not resolvable and that this clusters stars is strongly condensed as a oval patch of pale grey light.This globular cluster looks like an out of focus mottled snowflake.This globular cluster measures 4.3'x 3.3'.Chart No:298,NSOG Vol.2.

2011 August 27th, Saturday


Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible on the horizon.

Transparency of the Sky:Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Limiting Magnitude:4.9.



Object Type:Globular Cluster.

First Impression:This object looks like a globular cluster.



Size:26mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/8= 7.1'.

20mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/7= 7.1'.

7.1'+ 7.1'= 14.2'.

14.2'/2= 7.1'.

Size in Arc Minutes:7.1'(Nucleus).

Chart Number:No.12(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").


Major Axis:7.1'(Nucleus).

7.1'/3= 2.3'.

Minor Axis:2.3'(Halo).

Globular Cluster is 7.1'* 2.3'.

Brightness:Magnitude 7.6.

Brightness Profile:Right from the far outskirts of this globular cluster the nucleus grows brighter.

Challenge Rating:Moderately Difficult.



This globular cluster bright individual stars are seen and that they are partially resolved.The stars in this cluster are spherically concentrated towards each other.In this cluster there is a large chain of bright stars clearly seen.

Tom Bryant

2009 9 13 21:49:36

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-11

[17h 37m 36s, -3 15' 0"] AKA M 14. A large, bright, well resolved GC. I managed to glimpse ~100 stars, and 10-15 were plainly visible.

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